Should Church and State be Separate

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There has been much debate on whether or not the United States has been doing the right thing by keeping church and state as separate entities rather than keeping them entwined as had been the standard for centuries prior to the country’s founding. The list of influences this law could affect is substantial, ranging from the workplace to school functions. Even the way people decorate their offices and houses has come into question from time to time. However, remarkably, every person has a different style of argument and a different way of looking at the available facts. I intend to compare two very different argument styles on both sides of this issue, and how two capable writers use completely different methods of research, facts, and interpretations to propose their opinions.

Should Church and State be Separate?
Alan Wolfe (2002) speaks about many of the implied hypocrisies during the centuries-long debate over separation of church and state. While most people are brought up to question hypocrisy, Wolfe claims that some level of it is necessary to allow for compassion from the audience. “Surely we should want our anti-clericalists to have a touch of belief about them, especially when compared to the truly cynical.” Wolfe (¶ 14, 2002).
In his book, Separation of Church and State, Philip Hamburger called many of the politicians “…opportunistic” however; their type of behavior is often seen throughout our society today. In his article, “Church and State Should be Separate,” Wolfe (2002) uses lawyers as an example;
The history of American jurisprudence is filled with examples of lawyers seeking to build the strongest possible cases for their clients or causes, dropping one argument and employing another if it promises a greater chance of success, even if it seems to contradict the first. (¶ 13).

Throughout his argument, Wolfe also cites the court case, “Everson vs. Board of Education,” which placed separation of church and state into constitutional law in 1947. Prior to this case, the set of rules and ethics, God’s or Man’s, that should guide us, the citizens, had been debated but never determined.
On the other side of the spectrum stands Steve Bonta. Bonta contends that separation of church and state is a historical mistake waiting to happen. He uses examples from the French Revolution, in which they attempted the same ideal--giving the power to ...

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...selves. Favoritism of one religion over another would also lead to more prejudice and unethical happenings in everything from school and businesses to career paths and job security. I also believe that when one religion stands above another, there is always a risk of another holocaust, even if on a smaller scale. Any of the above events would completely negate our Constitution and lead to the utter destruction of our foundation. Americans have come to rely on and trust their freedoms, even if they take them for granted from time to time, and while some would be thrilled to have a religious establishment placed in an area of power, the majority would see it as a lie from the get-go that this country stands for freedom, and all trust in the government would falter, leading to either another American Revolution or tyrannical rule.

“Church and State Should be Separate” Alan Wolfe. Books and Culture September/October, 2002. Retrieved January 08, 2005 from the Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center Database.

“Church and State Should not be Separate” Steve Bonta. New American July, 09, 2002; vol. 18, p. 1. Retrieved January 08, 2005 from the Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center Database.
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